Erswell's Hall

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Erswell's Hall was a gathering place used for large meetings, often those organized by labor groups. It was either located above the furniture store and funeral parlor of Edward Erswell, on the west side of 19th Street North, between 1st and 2nd Avenue North.

The building housed the offices of Erswell Company funeral directors from 1872 to 1899 and was also the address of the Woodlawn Cemetery Co. from 1887.

According to a wire report published nationally, a man going by the name of William Fountaine visited all of the Birmingham City Schools to announce a show to be put on at Erswell's Hall at 4:00 PM on November 11, 1890, with a prize given to each pupil that paid 10¢ for admission. 1,200 students appeared at the hall, but "found no show and no presents." Fountaine instructed them to file out the back door where they would receive the gifts, but the students refused. He then went to a darkened corner of the hall, lit a match, and exclaimed "Fire!", which resulted in a stampede for the exits, with the result that "man children were trampled under foot and injured, some of them fatally." A police officer was sent to arrest the couple and found them in a locked room. They were arrested on the scene and taken to prison.

The hall hosted the 11th Annual Convention of the American Federation of Labor on December 14-19, 1891, with national AFL leader Samuel Gompers presiding.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Division 156, 432 and 436 held a joint ball at Erswell Hall on February 25, 1892. United States Representative Hilary Herbert gave an address at Erswell's Hall on August 22, 1892 on issues related to the upcoming 1892 election.

A mass meeting of workingmen was held there at 8:00 PM on Saturday February 18, 1893 to draft resolutions in support of Jefferson County's legislative delegation, which was advancing a bill sponsored by John McQueen to limit garnishment of wages for the payment of debts.

The newly-organized United Sons of Confederate Veterans were hosted at Erswell Hall by SCV Camp Henry D. Clayton No. 432 in 1895